Heat oven to 400° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in cup.
Toss bread, melted butter, raisins and cinnamon-sugar mixture in large bowl to coat. Spread in prepared pan.
Whisk eggs lightly in large bowl. Bring cream, remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla bean to boil in medium saucepan. Carefully remove vanilla bean; cool slightly. Scrape seeds from bean with small spoon. Stir seeds into cream mixture. Discard bean. Gradually whisk cream mixture into eggs; pour over bread. Place dish in large roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up side of baking dish. Bake pudding 35 to 40 minutes, until custard is set and top is golden brown.
Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream, if desired.Makes 12 Source: